Quinoa – A Gluten-Free Pseudo-Grain

Many regard the nutty-flavoured seed as a cereal, but in fact, quinoa is closely related to both spinach and beetroot, and is part of the amaranth family. The white, yellow and reddish-brown seeds are technically the fruits of amaranth plants and its composition is similar to that of cereal. For those suffering from coeliac disease, quinoa offers a gluten-free cereal alternative. The leaves of the plant can be prepared like vegetables or turned into a salad.

 

Food Facts Food Facts

Quinoa

Class

Chenopodium

Calories

343 kcal per 100 g

Nutrients

58.5g carbohydrate, 6.6g fibre, 5g fat, 13.8g protein per 100 g

Season

available year-round

Storage

store in a dry and airtight container, in a dark room at room temperature 

Shelf life

see use by date on packet

Quinoa – Origin and Cultivation

The pseudo-grain has been cultivated for approximately 6,000 years and its roots are in South America. It was a staple food for the population of the Andean region. Very few plants can withstand growing at such a high altitude. In the 16th century, the Spanish conquerors condemned quinoa as “unchristian” and forbade its cultivation. It was therefore almost forgotten about. Since its rediscovery, exports of quinoa are steadily increasing. Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador are the top cultivators.

Quinoa – A Healthy Pseudo-Grain with Few Calories

Quinoa is a superfood par excellence, as seen in the nutritional value of quinoa: it contains double the amount of protein as rice and provides the body with vital amino acids. It also provides complex carbohydrates which are both filling and have a positive effect on blood sugar levels. The seeds contain a high concentration of a variety of minerals, trace elements and vitamins.

Quinoa – Preparation of a Versatile Food

Quinoa is healthy, versatile and easy to prepare. The seeds make an excellent addition to muesli – both puffed and pressed as flakes – and when uncooked, can brighten up a salad. Cooked quinoa is an ideal side to meat and fish dishes and when fried, can also be a great replacement for a meat patty in a burger. Bread, muffins, pancakes and noodles can be made from quinoa flour. It’s also possible to brew gluten-free beer from quinoa and it’s great together with bananas and oranges in a smoothie.

In order to avoid a bitter taste, remember to thoroughly rinse the seeds in water before preparation. Quinoa is to be cooked in twice the amount of water: simmer on a low heat for 10 minutes and leave aside to swell for 15 minutes.

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Quinoa Recipes

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